Dec. 31--Lake Norman firefighters spent hours Tuesday fighting a blaze that destroyed a nearly $3 million waterfront house at Trump National Golf Club, Charlotte near Mooresville.
The fire at 102 Brownstone Drive -- owned by Jeff and Stephanie Arnold -- was first reported about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in what was formerly known as The Point community. Firefighters primarily from the Lake Norman Volunteer Fire Department -- with assists from multiple Iredell County fire departments -- spent hours attacking the blaze from fireboats on water and from trucks on land.
In the end, only a shell stood of what had been an 8,700-square-foot, five-bedroom house finished in 2009 at the tail end of Brownstone. Fire officials said it was a total loss.
The Arnolds bought the house and its 1.12-acre lot in 2009 for $3.3 million, county tax records show. Its current tax value is $2.9 million. The Arnolds own a neighboring lot valued at $1.42 million, records show.
The couple had been in Cancun, Mexico, and the house was being watched by two friends, neighbor Dan Haigney said he was told.
Haigney and his son had been at a movie when the fire broke out, and he found about 20 texts on his phone at the movie's end asking if his family and house were safe.
He said they hurried home and found their house three doors from the Arnolds' untouched. A crowd had gathered near 102 Brownstone. Most of the structure was gone, Haigney said.
Except for the garage. Firefighters were able to save most of the cars, Haigney said. "They always have beautiful cars going down the road," he said. He was concerned a vintage Rolls Royce hadn't survived.
"I was told the house-sitter heard a pop and turned around to see a big ball of fire," Haigney said. The friends got six dogs out of the house, and by late Tuesday afternoon all had been found. "From what I heard, there were also three or four cats that had not been accounted for," he said.
The Arnolds were on their way home Tuesday evening, friends said.
The property sits on a long cove with a westerly view -- ideal for sunsets, said real estate broker Jeff Grant, who has listed and represented buyers of homes in the community.
"It was a magnificent home, like going to a resort with a great pool sitting on a big cove," Grant said. "The house looked small in the front but opened up in the back with a view straight down a long cove for wonderful sunsets."
The Arnolds, Haigney said, put on a July 4 fireworks show each year over their cove.
By 7 p.m. Tuesday, the fire was still smoldering, he said.
As he and his son drove out of the neighborhood, a police-escorted bulldozer was headed in.
"There's not much left of that house at all," Haigney said. "I suspect they're going to knock down what's left to prevent the fire from spreading."
Staff writer Hope Paasch contributed.
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